Greece rules out help to U.S. war on Iraq

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

ATHENS Greece, unlike its neighbor and longtime Turkish rival, has ruled out any military help to the United States in a war against Iraq.

Greek officials said the government of Prime Minister Costas Simitis has rejected U.S. requests to send troops or military equipment to the current buildup in the Persian Gulf. They said Greece has offered a limited number of facilities to maintain stability in the Persian Gulf, Middle East Newsline reported.

Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said Greek soldiers would not be sent to Iraq. Papantoniou said Greece has ruled out the deployment of a second warship in the Gulf.

Athens has sent one warship to the Gulf region to help in the capture of Al Qaida insurgents.

The Greek minister said Athens will offer unspecified facilities within the framework of NATO. But he denied that Athens is under pressure to offer additional facilities.

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